God's Blessing on Missionary Giving

Updated July 15, 2009 (first published January 21, 2004) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -

Churches that desire God’s richest blessing must get 100% involved in missionary work. That is the Lord’s heartbeat. He emphasized this by repeating the Great Commission five different times in the Gospels and the book of Acts (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:44-48; Jn. 20:21; Acts 1:8). According to the Acts 1:8 church is to seek to reach its own city, its own region, and the world with the gospel. Such a great task cannot be accomplished in our own might or through our own resources; it can only be accomplished by faith in God. One evangelist challenges the churches with these words: What will God give through you that He will not give to you? That summarizes the attitude that we must have in fulfilling the Great Commission. When we step out in obedience, we can expect God’s blessing and provision.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

Churches that take steps of faith in going, praying, and giving experience God’s blessing. Let me give some examples.

Harold B. Sightler pastored the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, from 1952 until his death in 1995. He came out of the Southern Baptist Convention just prior to establishing Tabernacle. It was only the fourth independent Baptist church in that county. He testified that while he was in the Convention he never met a missionary. Tabernacle Baptist Church learned to operate its own missionary program, and by 1979 the church was giving 70% of its large income to missions, while operating the local ministry on 30%. Tabernacle sent out 36 of its own members as missionaries and was sending monthly support to about 280 others.

In the sermon “The Voice of the Independent Baptist Movement,” which Dr. Sightler preached at a missions conference in 1979 bat Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he testified that Tabernacle Baptist Church had started doubling one month’s mission giving each year to help the missionaries with inflation. They took that step entirely by faith, not knowing where the money would come from but trusting the Lord to supply. Dr. Sightler believed in emptying the church’s bank account each week (except for savings for a building program or something like that) to make sure that the Lord’s money was used while there was opportunity. When someone asked him what they would do “for a rainy day,” he replied that they had God for a rainy day! He testified that when you put God first and live by faith you don’t have as many rainy days. The first year they took the aforementioned step of faith, which was in about 1978, it cost them an extra $15,000 beyond their budget for that month. How did it work out? Did they have to go into debt? No, the Lord gave it back to them in the first Sunday’s offering. One lady gave an extra $7,000, and they received three other special gifts of over $2,000 each.

At a preacher’s fellowship in the early 1980s, I was introduced to Pastor Bill Long in North Carolina. His church was only a couple of years old and had just moved into a new building and they had a large debt. He was working a secular job and was not supported by the church. In fact, he had placed a mortgage on his own house to help finance the church building. He told me that he would like to have me visit his church and speak, but under the circumstances, they could not possibly support us financially. I decided to go anyway and I arrived the next Sunday morning to preach and tell about the Lord’s work in South Asia. Before the service, the pastor took me aside and said, “Brother, God has spoken to me this week that we should support you. I don’t know how we will do it, but I believe we must. For now, we want to promise you $25 monthly support, and we will trust the Lord for that amount.” That was more than twenty-five years ago, and they have never missed a month. In fact, they eventually quadrupled the original monthly amount. They obeyed God by faith, and He enabled them beyond their visible means. In the years since, God has blessed them beyond their expectations. Before Brother Long’s death the congregation increased greatly in size. It wasn’t long before the church was able to support its pastor full time as well as assistants. They support many missionaries and have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to missions.

When the Tri-County Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, was starting out in the late ‘70s, they met in a storefront building and were saving toward the purchase of their own property. Eventually they obtained acreage outside of town and had some money in the bank toward a building fund. At that time, they received a letter from a missionary they supported, requesting $10,000 to put the roof on a missionary church. The missionary congregation had poured the foundation and put up the walls, and they were seeking help to finish the roof before the rainy season began. It did not seem reasonable for Tri-County Baptist to help this missionary church with its building when Tri-County did not have its own building; yet this is exactly what the Lord led Pastor Rick Shrader to do. His men agreed wholeheartedly, and the church sent the $10,000, which was a large part of their building fund, to the mission field! God richly blessed this sacrificial step of faith, and within one year, Tri-County had its own beautiful building debt free!

In the early 1990s, Bethel Baptist Church of London, Ontario, was meeting in a storefront building and though they had a growing building fund, they saw little possibility of purchasing their own property because of the high cost of real estate in the area. Pastor Wilbert Unger had a burden to start a printing ministry to send out the Word of God and sound Bible teaching via the printed page across this needy world. At the time there was not a fundamental Baptist printing ministry in Canada. He approached the congregation about using a large portion of the building fund to establish a print shop and to hire a printer. The people agreed, and the project was completed. From the Bethel Baptist print shop, hundreds of thousands of books and Scriptures and magazines in many languages have since been distributed to various parts of the world to the glory of God. What about the church’s building? Within one year of their decision to use part of the building fund to print the Word of God, the Lord opened the door for them to get into their own nice building, and they were paying less for the mortgage than they were for rent in the storefront! Today the building is debt free.

In none of these cases did the churches give in order to get something. The giving was not selfish but sacrificial. It was an act of obedience. They simply trusted God to meet their needs as He saw fit.

These illustrations also show the importance of choosing spiritually-minded men as deacons and finance men. What if there had been men involved in the previous decisions who were not men of faith and evangelistic burden--unspiritual, worldly-minded deacons and treasurers, for example? They would no doubt have discouraged the idea of taking these steps of faith, saying it would not be wise or reasonable “under their circumstances.” Rather than praying and ascertaining the will of God in the matter, they would have complained and resisted the Holy Spirit. If men who lack faith and spiritual burden are appointed as officers, the churches will be discouraged about following God by faith, just as the children of Israel were discouraged by the ten cowardly, faithless spies (Numbers 13-14).

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

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